Arts of the Americas
On View: American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, The Americas’ First Peoples, 4000 B.C.E.–1521 C.E.
In the woodlands regions of North America, stone and quartzes were materials used extensively for ritual and utilitarian items. A bannerstone likely had a practical function as a counterweight on an atlatl, a long wooden shaft with a hooked end that was used to add power to a hunter’s arm when throwing a spear. The bannerstone’s wings may have provided balance. Bannerstones are often found far from stone sources, indicating they were part of a large trade network.
Late Archaic Period
3 1/8 x 1 x 4 1/2 in. (7.9 x 2.5 x 11.4 cm) (show scale)
A. Augustus Healy Fund
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Butterfly Bannerstone, 4000-2000 B.C.E. Stone, 3 1/8 x 1 x 4 1/2 in. (7.9 x 2.5 x 11.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, A. Augustus Healy Fund, 77.30.2. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 77.30.2_bw.jpg)
overall, 77.30.2_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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Translucent bannerstone of ferruginous quartz in butterfly shape. The span of the wings is curved but overall shape slightly irregular. Round drilled hole through the core: openings at top and bottom are not entirely symmetrical with each other. There are traces of drill markings. The exterior central segment rises in a curve.
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